Travel & Adventure

Germany Through the Piercing Eyes of Aston Martin

Germany in the summer is swaths of green shades and hues. Hints of whiter emerald explode from shrubs lining the roadways, only to give way to darker, more impenetrable old-growth verdant forests which loom large and dilute the warm rays of the sun. In those shadows, as I cross the bluest alpine stream I’ve ever seen behind the wheel of Aston Martin’s flagship DBS Superleggera, I’m reminded of a Teutonic legend born from the inky blackness these forests cast.

“In the brilliant light of the sun,” the fable starts, “he strolls this earth as a suited man. Powerful, commanding, a gentleman of renown and love for his fellow man. But when the darkness comes, and the world is cast in the glimmering preternatural glow of the moonlight, he becomes something else. A monster of fangs, claws and blood. The man he once was has vanished. His soul, removed. There is now only the beast. A creature of insatiable appetite and fury. A werewolf.”

Similar to the afflicted werewolf’s duality, the DBS Superleggera is a grand tourer concerned with the luxuries of life one moment, bathing you in the sort of sumptuous elegance you’d expect from an Eames chair. But tap your left hand twice against its steering wheel-mounted paddle shifter, prime the 5.2-liter twin-turbocharged V12, and this car explodes with righteous fury. So ferocious is the DBS Superleggera’s roar, you’d scarcely believe the Aston didn’t transform into the legendary demon passed down through the generations that call Germany’s forested interior home.

Like all living beings, the DBS Superleggera is centered on its savage heart, a twin-turbocharged V12 designed to provide drivers not only with smooth and powerful propulsion, but the sort of oomph that elicits straight-jacket hysteria after only the briefest of throttle tickles. Laughter and mania sort of take control once you’re on the move. Delve a little deeper into the DBS Superleggera’s torque curve as you watch the green world outside streak past and you get the sense that Aston Martin isn’t quite telling the full truth about the car’s purported 715 hp and 668 lb-ft of torque.

In the DBS Superleggera, I’m a wolf slicing through a thicket, dodging thorn bushes and upturned tree roots with scalpel-like accuracy.

A short-lived attack of an unrestricted section of Germany’s autobahn not only raises my pulse to the sort of levels presented from attendees of Tomorrowland—I see an indicated 172 mph across the Aston’s digital speedometer—but my flirting with its outrageous speed has me absolutely convinced that this Anglo-lycanthrope drops numbers closer to 800 hp and 700 lb-ft. Boom.

Then there’s this supercar’s song. Though slightly muffled by the pair of turbochargers, Aston Martin worked diligently to allow for the DBS Superleggera to deliver an operatic exposition. Low in the V12’s octave range, the DBS Superleggera produces a sort of guttural snarl. Deep and baritone. One suited of its predatory status. But once the tach needle starts climbing, the car delivers a yowl wholly unlike other V12s. It’s as if the DBS Superleggera was baying at the start of a hunt and signaling that whatever it's hunting had better be ready to bolt.

Off the smooth, unswerving tarmac of the autobahn, Germany’s picturesque side of the Alps comes into view. Granite cliffs dominate the darkened coniferous tree-lined valley roads. If there were ever a place capable of sending your imagination to a world where werewolves existed, it’s these labyrinthine stretches of pavement and countryside. Time to hunt.

It’s lithe steering wheel in hand, the DBS Superleggera is in full stalk on these alpine roads. Clicked into Sport Plus, a tension is brought to the car’s more laid back, grand-touring nature. Previous Aston Martins didn’t have the most direct or confidence-inspiring handling response. There’d be dead spots or they'd have such twitchy steering and handling that you’d never be able to push them hard. It would all sort of fall apart once a road got serpentine.

In the DBS Superleggera, I’m a wolf slicing through a thicket, dodging thorn bushes and upturned tree roots with scalpel-like accuracy after I’ve spied a herd of deer. With every directional change, the Aston responds exactly how’d you expect an apex predator to react. Dive left, dive right, the tight mountain switchbacks are no match to the DBS Superleggera’s finesse. My only wish? Some track time where I could truly exploit this car’s athleticism. Although this is truly a supernatural white-fanged animal, the incandescent sun reveals the car’s gentle-touring soul.

Few places on Earth are as comfortable, or as palatial, as the DBS Superleggera’s cabin. It’s replete with ultra-plush cushioning, leather and suede-covered surfaces, as well as brushed aluminum and carbon fiber accents throughout. Yet, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the lengths Aston Martin takes with regard to the DBS Superleggera’s leather selection. In fact, the story behind the luscious upholstery alone solidifies this car’s claims of delivering true opulence. A dedication to perfection taken to such an extreme, it boggles the mind.

Aston Martin only does business with a single Scottish rancher. It was selected for the farmer’s lack of barbed-wire fencing, which could scar the animal’s hide, and for the farm’s choice of cattle, a wooly breed whose coat makes it difficult for flies and midges to damage their hides. The finished product is nothing short of silky indulgence.

Once I calmed my torrential V12 blitzkrieg, I found that when I arrived at my destination, I emerged rested and ready for another blast. Here, encased in its sumptuous sports seat, bathed in the Bang & Olufsen stereo which gives the impression it could turn color into sound, if given the “go ahead” from Aston Martin, I’d top off the fuel tank and point the DBS Superleggera’s nose toward some far-off land. Maybe Italy? Maybe China? Either way, this is an Aston Martin that is adept at not just just popping off to the local pub, but could easily cross continents. Seriously, is China really that far from Germany?

Back into the darkened recesses of Bavaria’s forests, the DBS Superleggera once again shuns the light and returns to its bestial nature. The man is gone with a firm stab of the gas. Only the beast exists and its turning has left me laughing uncontrollably and pondering how I hope to one day afford one. It will take some time.

Aston Martin’s $304,995 DBS Superleggera, however, is worth every damn penny. Few automobiles have such distinct dual personalities: The DBS Superleggera can be both buttoned-down tourer, and with a touch of darkness and throttle, a certifiably deranged old-world monster. More often than not, one personality is compromised by the other, and neither lives up to the hype or its potential. The result is a car lacking real bite and that never legitimately aligns with its price—yet, here, it’s a combination perfectly intertwined.

Though, in those now-ancient legends, the werewolf had zero control over its turning from man to beast. In the DBS Superleggera, however, you have that power. No moon required. Just a simple push of the button and prod of the throttle. Still, I’d make absolutely sure you’re ready to unleash the beast within.

Related Topics